Francis Alÿs to represent Belgium at the Venice Biennale 2022

Francis Alÿs, Children’s Games #19: Haram Soccer (2007)
The onslaught of artist announcements for the Venice Biennale was quietened slightly when the event was pushed back a year to 2022, but Belgium has come forth to whet art lovers’ appetites with its offering for the upcoming edition’s Belgian Pavilion.


Overseen by Hilde Teerlinck, a curator at Barcelona’s Hans Nefkens Foundation, artist Francis Alÿs will develop new work from his video Children’s Games #19: Haram Soccer (2017), which features Iraqi children playing a sport which the Islamic State has sought to forbid. Working primarily in film and video, Alÿs is known for his bold portrayal of political subjects - commonly borders and conflict - and often utilises metaphor to convey his message. 


The jury for the Belgian Pavilion had this to say about their selection: “Francis Alÿs deals with history, current events, and location in an impressive way, both during the creation and the presentation”.


The artist, who is based in Mexico City, is no stranger to the Venice Biennale, having been commissioned for the 2017 Iraq Pavilion, and featuring in the main exhibitions in 1999, 2001 and 2007. The 2022 edition will, however, be Alÿs’ first major presentation at the biennale.